Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz Info

Download or Read Online latest releases, and browse our best picks for the best graphic and comics novels of the year. Find Answers and Reviews on Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz by Chip Kidd,Charles M. Schulz Read&Download Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz by Chip Kidd,Charles M. Schulz Online Author:Chip Kidd,Charles M. Schulz Formats:Hardcover,Paperback Publication Date:Oct 23, 2001 Ratings: 4.55 of 809


This beautiful album will dazzle fans of Charles M. Schulz and
his art, providing an unprecedented look at the work of the most
brilliant and beloved cartoonist of the twentieth century. Here is the
whole gang–Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty,
Schroeder, Pig-Pen, and all the others from the original Peanuts
strips.
More than five hundred comic strips are reproduced, as
well as such rare or never-before-seen items as a sketchbook from
Schulz's army days in the early 1940s; his very first printed strip,
Just Keep Laughing
; his private scrapbook of pre-Peanuts Li'l
Folks
strips; developmental sketches for the first versions of
Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts characters; a sketchbook from 1963;
and many more materials gathered from the Schulz archives in Santa Rosa,
California.
The art has been stunningly photographed by Geoff
Spear in full color, capturing the subtle textures of paper, ink, and
line. The strips–which were shot only from the original art or
vintage newsprint–reveal how, from the 1950s through 2000,
Schulz's style and the Peanuts world evolved. The book features
an introduction by Jean Schulz and has been designed and edited by
renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, who also provides an informed and
appreciative commentary.
This celebration of the genius of the
most revered cartoonist of our time is a must for anyone who has ever
come under the spell of Peanuts.

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Reviews for Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz:

4

Jan 31, 2018

Peanuts: The Art of Schulz is a nice little anthology of Peanuts characters and strips. Maybe I’m spoiled by the wonderful The Complete Far Side, wherein Gary Larson explains his ideas for his comics, many of which were hilarious miscues, but I found Peanuts a little lacking. I would have liked more hand drawing and evolution of the strip. Maybe there’s just not much there...the original characters didn’t change all that much over time.
3

Nov 23, 2012

First let me start by saying I am not a comic book guy. I always kind of wanted to be one, and did read them sometimes when I was a kid, but I could never quite inhabit the superhero world and the funny stuff was either too silly (“Little Lulu”) or too adult (Archie and Jughead intimidated me; Veronica terrified me). The stuff I did read (Sgt. Rock, anything with ghosts) I look back on with nostalgia, but can’t really get worked up about now that I am finally a quasi-adult. But with this preface First let me start by saying I am not a comic book guy. I always kind of wanted to be one, and did read them sometimes when I was a kid, but I could never quite inhabit the superhero world and the funny stuff was either too silly (“Little Lulu”) or too adult (Archie and Jughead intimidated me; Veronica terrified me). The stuff I did read (Sgt. Rock, anything with ghosts) I look back on with nostalgia, but can’t really get worked up about now that I am finally a quasi-adult. But with this preface out of the way, let me say that Charles M. Schulz’s comic Peanuts is one of the enduring landmarks of 20th century American literature.

The book in question, “The Art of Charles M. Schulz,” is another gem I discovered in the Allen County Public Library discard pile (really, they get rid of the best stuff - I just picked up Jane Addams’ autobiography - a ratty, otherwise uninteresting copy, but signed by Jane Addams. Sure, I’d rather have Orwell or Abe Lincoln, but still, for 2 bucks!). Anyway, this book, for all its flaws, reinforced my belief that Charles M. Schulz is a genius.

Yep. Genius. But first my Peanuts reservations. Although the book doesn’t cover it in any meaningful way, there is a huge contradiction between Peanuts the comic strip and the relentless, seemingly guileless yet often nauseating Peanuts as a marketing phenomenon. For nauseating, think Snoopy Icecapades and “Happiness is a warm puppy” T-shirts. Schulz, for all his genius, had kind of a small-minded make-a-buck attitude towards his creation that ballooned around the core of his best work. The marketing confused and sometimes obfuscated the art. Snoopy was only rarely a “warm puppy” and only when it suited his rather chilly, selfish ends. Likewise Charlie Brown was only occasionally the feckless warmhearted anti-hero with the starveling Christmas tree; at other times he was as monomaniacle as Captain Ahab (usually on the pitcher’s mound), crushingly depressive, and a hapless, but relentless social climber and a snob whenever the occasion presented itself. The T-shirt version of Peanuts eliminates or softens the delusions and despair of Linus, the heartless singlemindedness of Schroeder’s talent, and the annihilating nihilism of Lucy’s implacable will.

Another problem with Peanuts is covered very well by this book: the fact Peanuts was a work in progress. As Schulz was well aware, a cartoonist is a person who has to meet a deadline 7 times a week. For gag-heavy trifles such as “Family Circle” or “Dennis the Menace” this isn’t a problem - either the gag works or it doesn’t (even for for superior gag-dependent work such as “B.C.”). With Peanuts, as it became more of an ensemble serial relying on its characters, this development gets worked out in public; in effect, Schulz had to publish all his first drafts and false starts. This would be a catastrophe for a novelist working on a single, life’s work book (think Dickens from Pickwick Papers to Bleak House in one fell swoop). Which is to say Peanuts at the start (c. 1950-1957) was, looking back on it now, a kind of shaky proposition, often too reliant on “Li’l Folks” cutsieness and lame jokes. It often doesn’t hold up well. And yet these are the years when something great was being formed, and the spare, sometimes bleak suburban landscapes take their lines and the characters start to deepen. Around the mid-1950s and through to the late ‘60s, Schulz hit his stride and Peanuts became - I’ll kick you in the shin if you don’t agree with me, I mean it - genius.

The scope of Peanuts rivals any Jonathan Franzen novel (or is this damning with faint praise?). The Peanuts neighborhood was a miniature dystopia peopled by a cast of characters who were crushed by it (Charlie Brown), resisted it (Snoopy, Linus Van Pelt, and the problematic Peppermint Patty), went along with it and thrived (the mostly contemptible, if minor, Violet and Patty, who take their meaning from group solidarity and cruelty), ignored it (Schroeder), or exulted in making it worse (Lucy Van Pelt, one of literature’s great narcissistic monsters of implacable will). The actual neighborhood itself - the ranch houses, the miniature intermittent tufts of grass, the blank box of the old console TVs, and the distant wooden fences -- is an existentially bleak blank slate against which the characters attempted (and often failed) to create meaning. And meaning is not easy to create, as Jean Paul Sartre would tell you. There’s the futility of Charlie Brown’s sports obsessions. There’s Linus’s crippling reliance on his security blanket. Or Snoopy’s vivid imagination that fails to manifest itself tangibly because he was such a hilariously bad novelist. Even Lucy dashed herself on the rock of Schroeder’s indifference, self-absorption, and the lofty inhumanity of his genius. Sally Brown, Charlie Brown’s little sister, is not perhaps the most appealing of characters, but her unflappable self-confidence in the face of failure (she was a poor student) makes her an interesting contrast to her brother. She is hard-headed (and -hearted to some extent); you kind of get the feeling she is going to succeed while her brother drifts off. Her unrequited love for Linus won’t be an all-consuming tragedy for her the way the Little Red-Haired Girl is for her brother. Peppermint Patty, not one of my favorite characters, but perhaps the last of Schulz’s successes, was the inverse of Charlie Brown, doomed to fail, but in possession of optimism, a basic social adroitness, and self-respect; that this usually failed to do her any good is one of Schulz’s bleakest messages. But to see Charlie Brown as merely a loser is to underestimate him as a literary character. Like many losers, he lorded it over lesser beings if given an opportunity - in particular Snoopy and Linus were subjected to his efforts to be an older, wiser, and more powerful councilor and (in Snoopy’s case) master. They easily rebuffed him, of course, but never used it to crush him or entirely abandon him. Charlie Brown persisted, which is perhaps Schulz’s most inspiring message. None of the characters became types (as they won’t in great literature). For instance Lucy the tyrant was occasionally dumbfounded by her brother Linus’s shrewd turning of the other cheek and/or his agile reasoning. Linus in turn profits from Lucy’s tyrannical concern that he not screw up and embarrass her since he tends to be foggy and a victim of his own imagination (the futility of the Great Pumpkin is one of my personal touchstones for failing at verse). Whatever happens, Peanuts is never quite hopeless. Never quite, just mostly so.

The book in question has very little text (besides captions). Other than the strip, mostly we get fragments of Schulz talking about Peanuts. Many of these fragments are compelling. Some tend to seem as if Schulz doesn’t quite understand the full scope of his accomplishments (perhaps this is where “Happiness is a warm puppy” comes from).

“Charlie Brown’s personality goes in several directions. Most of the time he is quite depressed because of the feelings of other people about him, but at the same time he has a certain amount of arrogance. Generally, however, he is wholly struck down by the remarks of other characters, especially Lucy. She represents all of the cold-blooded, self-sufficient people in this world who do not feel that it is at all necessary ever to say anything kind about anyone.” (pages aren’t numbered; this is from a 1959 interview).

“Because of the feelings…” is a bit incoherent. DaVinci describing Lisa’s smile? Ah! But a few years later:

“’You can understand why the others get annoyed with Charlie Brown.’ said Schulz in 1967. ‘He bores them because he wants so much to be liked. I think they are justified sometimes in their treatment of him. Charlie Brown is too vulnerable. He is full of hope and misdirected faith. Lucy is too sharp for him, and she is full of misdirected confidence. She can cut through a lot of the sham and she can really feel what is wrong with Charlie Brown, which he can’t see himself.’”

Much better (if not covering everything), I like how he gives Lucy her due here (although Lucy’s ability to see her self is virtually nonexistent; her will is all that matters, in a terrifying way). These bits of Schulz interviews and stray thoughts are salted sparingly throughout the book. Too sparingly, perhaps. But the bits are almost always interesting. For instance, we are told Schulz’s least favorite character was Pig-Pen, whose appeal to his audience baffled him; he considered him a one-off joke and kept him alive only because of fan clamor. This was an interesting bit of information. Amiable and generous, Pig-Pen represented the complete pariah, separated from the others by what amounted to a handicap. Charlie Brown at least had good grooming (and his dad was a barber). Pig-Pen’s failure was not a failure of character; he was a victim of fate.

A few words about the book itself. The reproductions of the strips are taken from old newspaper clippings, with yellowed tape marks, etc. I like this. What I didn’t like was the size they were often reproduced. Some are full-size, but page after page these strips are reduced to minuscule making them difficult to read. The book is a weird size - horizontally formatted and scarcely larger than an old-fashioned Sunday strip. But still, the book often looks great, and the photos of Schulz artifacts - inky nubs and cluttered desk drawers - were for me strangely moving (no computers, thank God, thank God). Far less interesting are photos of the clumsy “rare” toys made in the early days of the Peanuts merchandizing phenomenon; lumpy figurines and bizarre dioramas from Italy - a precursor to all that awful Peanuts marketing tie-in trash to come. As for the text that doesn’t quote Schulz, there is a certain Icecapades blandness to that seems to pretty much be the default setting for all Charles M. Schulz critiques. Jean Schulz’s introduction is fond, warm, and quite uninteresting. As for the other editorial asides, they are also quite wan. For instance, it is never suggested that Peanuts went through a catastrophic if gradual decline starting in the 1970s until Schulz’s death (2000). Woodstock was the beginning of the end for me, but even if you don’t agree with me, Snoopy’s mustachioed cousin Spike was truly a failure. Other new characters never seemed to jell either. If nothing else, there were far too many golf jokes in the last decades (I have complete immunity to golf jokes). More catastrophically, there is Schulz’s health. He was afflicted with Parkinson’s which gave him an increasingly shaky line. There is some requisite heroic talk in the book about this:

“Rather than harming the strip, this actually made the linework even more expressive, and marked the further evolution of Peanuts through the 1980s and 90s. Due to Schulz’s discipline and mastery of technique, the gradually wavier lines never looked like a mistake -- the were a natural, effective design choice.”

Well, yes, Parkinson’s Disease is “natural.” But what nonsense this is. Schulz’s line - his steady, dark, brooding, suburban line -- was genius and the ravages of his disease was not an improvement. Tellingly, despite the brave editorial, the book reproduces virtually nothing of Peanuts’ last decade except for a few of Schulz’s heartbreakingly quavery idea sketches. There is no sign of Spike anywhere, and as I recall, he was a constant presence throughout the 1990s. I admire Schulz’s perseverance, but beyond a certain pathos, late Peanuts strips were mostly failures. Still, this does not obscure the genius that is…

Mon Dieu! I must stop! The ghosts of literary snobs I have known are tormenting me now. Perhaps I over-praise? Let it stand: Charlie Brown c’est moi! Good grief!
...more
3

Apr 02, 2017

I liked seeing how the strip changed over the years.

A book of comics
5

Oct 17, 2011

My wife got me the hard-cover edition of this back when it first came out, notable for it's weird dust jacket. I have read it over and over. Not only does it have a lot of Peanuts strips, it is a scrapbook of Peanuts memorabilia, with essays and quotes from Schulz and others thrown in.

This book also holds a special place in my heart because of when it was given as a gift. We were going through a hard time financially and for my wife to give me the actual hardback version was quite a sacrifice. My wife got me the hard-cover edition of this back when it first came out, notable for it's weird dust jacket. I have read it over and over. Not only does it have a lot of Peanuts strips, it is a scrapbook of Peanuts memorabilia, with essays and quotes from Schulz and others thrown in.

This book also holds a special place in my heart because of when it was given as a gift. We were going through a hard time financially and for my wife to give me the actual hardback version was quite a sacrifice. She knew how much I love Peanuts, though, and gave it to me for Christmas. One of the best gifts ever--and still is! ...more
5

Jul 20, 2014

It's safe to say that the Peanuts obsession of my childhood has been rekindled and is now approximately ten times worse.
5

Aug 21, 2018

I've always enjoyed Peanuts, but I've never seen or heard of many of the little tidbits and comics that appear in these pages- very interesting foray into the early work and behinds the scenes of an iconic comic.
5

Feb 08, 2013

This is one of the best collections of Charles M. Schulz' works. Contained in these pages are the history of what the Peanuts creator thought of before and after the comic debuted on the endless comic strip papers that have been preserved to this day.
This book of the art from Charles Schulz contains not just the Peanuts strip but early drawings during Charles' school days and even an early version of his masterpiece (showing a Charlie Brown debut!) named "Lil' Folks" that was seen in a church This is one of the best collections of Charles M. Schulz' works. Contained in these pages are the history of what the Peanuts creator thought of before and after the comic debuted on the endless comic strip papers that have been preserved to this day.
This book of the art from Charles Schulz contains not just the Peanuts strip but early drawings during Charles' school days and even an early version of his masterpiece (showing a Charlie Brown debut!) named "Lil' Folks" that was seen in a church publication.
Also of note are little fun visual trivia details that you may not have known about all the well-known tykes and friends (did you know when Snoopy debuted he only walked on all fours? Lucy in her debut was a toddler and younger than Charlie before she changed into an older girl? One unpublished strip shows adults and the young characters competing in golf? And one character who is many fans' favorite is actually disliked by Charles himself?).
The cartoons are funny, poignant, clever, and always unpredictable. You will relive the wonder of Peanuts and the world that Schulz created just for the "little people" and for you at heart. A legacy about a world that everyone with a heart enjoys, about that "that good 'Ol Charlie Brown." ...more
5

Jul 12, 2012

This is a magical book, and any Peanuts fan would love it and treasure it. It is a book one can return to over and over to enjoy. Leave it lying around the living room where everybody can enjoy it and relive the joy Charles Schultz and the Peanuts gang gave us for over fifty years. Better yet, introduce a new generation of kids to the strip. The Peanuts gang is a microcosm of us, and reading it reveals much about ourselves and helps us to look on life with tenderness and humor.
Buy this book, This is a magical book, and any Peanuts fan would love it and treasure it. It is a book one can return to over and over to enjoy. Leave it lying around the living room where everybody can enjoy it and relive the joy Charles Schultz and the Peanuts gang gave us for over fifty years. Better yet, introduce a new generation of kids to the strip. The Peanuts gang is a microcosm of us, and reading it reveals much about ourselves and helps us to look on life with tenderness and humor.
Buy this book, read it, and share it. It would make a wonderful present as well. It is the best Peanuts book to date ...more
5

Dec 27, 2013

The Peanuts characters are my favorites. It was fun reading about all of the facts, trivia, and the history of the characters. I never knew that Charlie Brown had a female counterpart for a brief period of time or that Lucy started out as being halfway docile. My only real complaint about this book is that some of the comic strips were hard to read because the editors shrunk them up too much to fit into the book. Either make those strips bigger or eliminate the extras. Overall, I loved the book.
4

Nov 06, 2012

This handsome collection has some strengths: excellent reproduction values, lots of early strips and original art, including many things not seen before, memorabilia photos, etc. It also has weaknesses: cluttered format (though the layout, mimicking what one might do if one cut out and taped the strips into a book, rather than a professional reproduction of the originals, has a certain appeal), no real structure to how material is presented, little in the way of
commentary or text. But all the This handsome collection has some strengths: excellent reproduction values, lots of early strips and original art, including many things not seen before, memorabilia photos, etc. It also has weaknesses: cluttered format (though the layout, mimicking what one might do if one cut out and taped the strips into a book, rather than a professional reproduction of the originals, has a certain appeal), no real structure to how material is presented, little in the way of
commentary or text. But all the great strips make up for it.
...more
5

Jun 29, 2013

This book gives an interesting insight to the creation of Peanuts, the representation of each individual strip character and the ideas each of them bring to the strip, and the uniqueness of the artist himself, Charles M. Schulz (Sparky). The history, rare items, licensees, and trivia included in this book are very refreshing that I feel like all of Peanuts are real. I am very happy to see my favorite characters, Schroeder and Linus! I feel like a kid again and these guys are just my neighbors.
5

Feb 08, 2008

This is a really nice retrospective of Schulz's career, with a heavy emphasis on the early days of "Peanuts" in the 1950's. Not having read any "Peanuts" strips for quite some time, it was really cool to look at these strips with fresh eyes -- I consistently found myself startled by how biting the strip could be. It also made me realize just how closely akin Calvin (from "Calvin & Hobbes") is to the Peanuts gang. I would like to seek out the complete Peanuts collections, now.
3

Jan 21, 2016

A delightful look into the beginnings of how one of America's favorite characters came to be. This book features over 500 comic strips dating from the 1950's through 2000. You get to see how the whole gang looked in the beginning & watch them grow to be the characters we know & love today. Packed with fun-to-know facts & some never before seen drawings. Definitely a must read for any Peanuts fan.
4

Jan 27, 2017

If you've always been interested in not only reading the Peanuts comics, but learning about the facts behind the making of them, then this book is for you! Chip Kidd provides details on how Schulz got started and includes some of Schulz's original drawings. I learned so much from this book that I didn't already know about the artist of my favorite comic strip!
5

Aug 01, 2013

This book had a beautiful transition of character design as well as insightful stories and thoughts from Charles M. Shultz. Along with a large collection of Peanuts strips, I thought this was an inspiring book not only for any aspiring or established artist or writer, but anyone who appreciates the warmth and nostalgia that came from Charlie Brown and his beagle.
4

Jan 27, 2011

A beautiful book for fans of graphic design and Charles Schultz alike; however, I wish Kidd leaned more towards creating an anthology than a piece of graphic art. Some of the strips scanned in from yellowing newspaper clippings from Schultz's personal archive were so small that they were illegible.
5

Jul 31, 2013

I've been a long-time fan of Peanuts and Charles Schulz, so to have this book and see the detail of the comic close up is wonderful. Chip Kidd does a great job editing the book, selecting strips and bringing in just the right amount of commentary on the art and the artist. A wonderful book for any Schulz fan.
4

Mar 31, 2010

This is a good collection that concentrates more on the history of the strip and the art of Schulz than on a chronological laying out of the comics. There are older cartoons and beginning strips that predate the Peanuts we know (like "Sparky's Li'l Folks). There are photos, sketches...Peanuts toys. All in all an interesting book for Peanuts fans...and of course the comics are still good. :)
3

May 12, 2009

Who doesn’t love Peanuts? Our library’s copy fell apart, and I gleefully took it home to read. The binding gave way halfway through, and random pages started falling out—I was covered by loose pages by the time I was done. Note to self, do not lie on back and hold book up while reading. My nose will never be the same.
5

Jun 15, 2012

This is beautiful, adorable, touching, hilarious... but what else would one expect?

I found it interesting to see Schroeder, my favorite, as a baby... I hadn't known he started out that way in the comic strip. Terribly cute!
4

Feb 10, 2011

Bought this at the thrift store for a few dollars, and am enjoying immensely. Designed wonderfully by Chip Kidd to really give a sense of the history of the strip. Has renewed my interest in Schulz's work, which has been dulled over the years from the never-ending stream of reruns in the newspaper.
5

Feb 21, 2010

Another great addition to my Peanuts library. Developmental sketches, stuff from Schulz's personal scrapbooks, pictures of rare collector items, images of his very first comic strip that I've never seen before. I love the last four pages.
4

Mar 08, 2014

Fantastic voyage to be a child again. This may be the best compilation of Peanuts strips I've ever read. I laughed out loud, chuckled, smiled and felt every bit as happy as you can get. Eternal thanks to you, Sparky Schulz :)
5

Oct 03, 2007

This is a beautiful scrapbook of Shulz's artwork. It includes some of his original panels and original newspaper printings of them - with all of the mistakes and close-up details included. Sometimes one Peanuts panel says more than the whole strip, and this collection realizes that.
5

Aug 16, 2011

A great book that gives the reader a new appreciation for the characters we know and love and the strip we grew up with by exploring their origins and evolution over the years. I'd forgotten how much I loved Peanuts until I read this. Schulz was a genius. (May 2008)

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